“As American as apple pie.” Though popular this expression’s not terribly old. Back in the 1960s things typically American began to be described as such.
Another expression, “Easy as pie,” is the aphorism I have an issue with. I agree that pie should be easy because there are only two components- the filling and the crust.
The filling is simply a matter of putting together the right ingredients in proper amounts, but the crust? Now that’s a different matter. It’s not only the ingredients; it’s also about a technique that has to be learned and mastered. My personal quest for a light, buttery, and flakey pie crust, and the heartbreak of the not-so-perfect result, could be a saga in itself.
I’ve heard it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something. I’ll admit I’m well short of 10,000 hours, so perhaps I’ve only just begun, but I do have some advice for those of you who are after the perfect apple pie:
- Learn to embrace the rips and tears in your crust. It will make the finished product look more rustic and countrified.
- Some say try adding vodka to the dry ingredients in place of ice water (most of the alcohol will cook out) leaving the crust even flakier.
- Watch the Nana’s Cookery You Tube video ahead of time entitled Perfectly Flakey Pie Crust Recipe: Nana’s Secret Recipe And Tips for Technique and Inspiration.
- Don’t forget Nana’s advice, “Don’t overwork the dough, or yourself for that matter.”
. . . And always have a good quality frozen alternative ready to pop in the oven just in case.
Apple Pie Salted Caramel
3 1/2 lbs.Baking apples see next line
-(Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, or Honeycrisp)
2 TbspSugar (granulated)
2Lemons juice of
1 cupSugar granulated
8 TbspButter cut in small cubes
1/2 cupCream heavy
1/3 cupSugar turbinado
1/2 tspAngostura bitters
1/4 tspNutmeg ground
1/2 tspKosher salt
1/8 tspPepper black
1Egg lightly beaten with 1 tsp water
PIE CRUST (bottom crust):-
1 cup 2 TbspFlour all-purpose
1/3 cupCanola oil
2 TbspIce water in small bowl
PIE CRUST (lattice top):Commercial pie crust
It’s always best to make the pie the day before. This way there is time for the juices to settle.
It should be made in the following order:
- Make the filling first.
- While the apples are setting in the sugar and lemon juice for one hour, start work on the pie crust.
- Finish adding the ingredients in the filling.
- Add the filling to the pie shell.
- Add the lattice to the top and bake.
Time: Allow for plenty of time
Begin by peeling, coring, and thinly slicing apples and add to a med/large metal mixing bowl.
Toss apples with 2 Tbsp granulated sugar and lemon juice. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour.
Start working on crust. In a small metal bowl add flour and salt. Stir to mix.
Add canola oil and stir with fork (about 30 stirs). Doesn’t have to be perfect. Through the whole process DON’T OVERWORK THE DOUGH.
Add the ice water and work it into the ingredients with a fork (about 20 turns).
With your hands roll it into a ball. May be marbeled and discolored.
Roll out using waxed paper. Place one sheet on a flat surface and place the ball of dough in that. Place second sheet over the top of the ball. Start from the middle and roll out. Turn 90 degrees and roll out. Repeat process. Roll out until the pie plate, when placed over the crust, will allow it to be placed in the pie plate with the crust spilling over the edges.
To transfer remove the top piece of waxed paper. Then flip the dough onto the pie plate and carefully remove the other piece of waxed paper. Form the crust into the confines of the pie plate. NEVER stretch out the dough.
Gather up plenty of crust over the lip of pie plate. Cut off excess and mend crust if necessary. Then flute with thumb and forefinger. Chill crust (optional) if you are worried about shrinkage.
Prepare to coat apples. Stir together the turbinado sugar with the spices through black pepper in a med/large metal mixing bowl.
Drain apples, discarding juices and add the apples to bowl with spices. Toss to coat.
Add coated apples to crust in pie dish. Pile up in center, and tightly arrange so that as many slices as possible lie flat. Compress tightly.
Begin making caramel sauce by whisking one cup sugar with ¼ cup water in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook without stirring until sugar dissolves (about 2 minutes).
Add butter and continue cooking until the mixture turns a deep reddish-brown. Be really careful not to overcook or burn this. Remove from heat.
Carefully add cream, stirring until sauce is smooth.
Pour caramel sauce evenly over the apples. Dust lightly with salt.
Wrap with plastic and set aside.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Adjust rack to bottom third of oven.
Roll out the second crust which is from the commercial crust package. Note: The commercial crust is a bit more elastic than the homemade crust, and it will be easier to work with. Cut dough into 1½ inch strips with two of the longest being 12 inches. Save some dough for patching should you need it. Set aside.
Apply lattice in a weaved pattern to top. You Tube has several sites demonstrating how to do this. When finished brush egg over crust.
Sprinkle lattice with turbinado sugar with just a little bit of salt.
Bake in bottom third of oven until crust is golden brown about 1 hour. You will probably have to cover top with aluminum foil halfway through.
Let cool completely before serving.
… And there you have it. A beautiful pie that will rival your grandma’s, but don’t tell grandma. This will be our little secret.